The Filovirus Research Program (FRP) was estabished in 1996 following the third known outbreak of Ebola Reston among Philippine macaque monkeys exported to the US in April of that year. Following this outbreak investigation, the program expanded the activities and provided surveillance and diagnostic services for the government support to the supply of high quality specific disease-free laboratory monkeys to national and international biomedical research community. Moreover, studies on the molecular biology of the virus and further investigations of possible natural hosts were initiated.
The goals of the FRP were to determine the potential public health impacts of the virus, and establish routine zoonotic disease surveillance and testing. The RITM scientists continued to work with the Special Pathogens Branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tsukuba Primate Center of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Japan, and the Department of Veterinary Medical Science of the University of Tokyo with funding from the Japan Science and Technology Agency.
The research initiatives included:
1) Serologic surveillance among newly captured monkeys for replacement breeders in the Philippine monkey breeding facilities
2) Ebola Reston virus antigen detection among monkey deaths in the Philippine monkey breeding facilities
3) Molecular and genetic analysis of Ebola Reston virus in the Philippines
4) Detection and molecular characterization of Ebola viruses among humans and non-human primates
5) Disease investigation and descriptive epidemiology (temporal and spatial distribution) of the 1996 outbreak
6) Assessing the threat of Ebola Reston virus among occupationally-exposed humans
Mary Elizabeth G. Miranda, DVM – Research Program Leader
Agnes V. Barrientos, MD
Daria L. Manalo, DVM
Alan B. Calaor, RMT
Orly G. Soria, RMT